Album Reviews

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Michael Fremer  |  Jun 26, 2017  |  21 comments
Bassist Scott LaFaro's death in a Geneva, New York car accident ten days after the Sunday, June 25th, 1961 recording of this Village Vanguard set did more than add a tragic luster to the story. It upended what might have been a very different track order here and on Waltz For Debby, the second record sourced using tracks recorded that day by engineer David Jones on a modified Ampex 350 using Scotch 111 tape.

Michael Fremer  |  Jun 19, 2017  |  13 comments
With its compilation-like title, black and white cover art and wide ranging artists roster, The Sound of Jazz, originally issued in 1958, is often confused with one of Columbia Records' early stereo sampler albums.

Michael Fremer  |  Jun 14, 2017  |  8 comments
In his annotation for Riverside’s 1966 reissue of the 1961 Jazzland original single LP release Monk & Coltrane (RS 390) critic Ira Gitler (who is credited for inventing the expression “sheets of sound” to describe the note cluster technique Coltrane devised during his short time playing with Monk) writes “Coltrane’s talent, set in such a fertile environment, bloomed like a hibiscus.”

Michael Fremer  |  May 09, 2017  |  34 comments
It all started as a misheard request for a condiment, Paul McCartney recollects in one of the introductions to the box's sumptuously produced book. During a flight back from America, the band's roadie Mal Evans asked Paul to "pass the salt and pepper", which he misheard as "Sergeant Pepper".

Michael Fremer  |  May 04, 2017  |  15 comments
Jerry Goldsmith's remarkable 84 minute, 54 second score for Star Trek The Motion Picture here in its entirety on vinyl for the first time is a musical and sonic spectacular that's far more exciting than was the movie itself. This is one film score you can definitely enjoy without having seen the movie.

Michael Fremer  |  May 03, 2017  |  7 comments
While a great deal of attention rightly gets paid to Bill Evans' legendary Village Vanguard recordings early in his career, this superb set recorded in Paris, France shortly before his passing is equally worthy both musically and sonically.

Michael Fremer  |  May 03, 2017  |  12 comments
Characterizing The Gilded Palace of Sin as a “country-rock” album or “the first country-rock album” or as it’s incorrectly called by some Sweetheart of The Rodeo Part 2 sells short an album that transcends genre or for that matter “dash-genres”.

Michael Fremer  |  Apr 18, 2017  |  17 comments
Music composed for films is by definition precisely timed and intended to mirror or at least complement the on screen action. Of course that’s not always how its accomplished, especially when the hired musicians are not trained film composers.

Michael Fremer  |  Apr 06, 2017  |  6 comments
Over the past decade or so vinyl-loving jazz enthusiasts have been treated to a series of previously unreleased but significant recordings discovered under beds, in closets and in the vaults of European radio stations. Some were never before heard. Others were bootlegged from radio broadcasts

Michael Fremer  |  Mar 14, 2017  |  6 comments
You’ve probably seen or at least heard about Damien Chazelle’s musical “La La Land”, about a musician (Ryan Gosling) whose less than fully expressed mission was to “save jazz”. He brings his turntable and retro-record collection to Los Angeles where he lives in a crummy apartment and makes ends meet by playing in a piano bar.

Michael Fremer  |  Mar 09, 2017  |  4 comments
It doesn't slight to this well-produced, thoroughly engaging record to write that singer/songwriter/pianist/raconteur Judith Owen is best experienced live in concert.

Michael Fremer  |  Jan 26, 2017  |  44 comments
Pictured are three percussion records you should own—especially if you feel like banging your head against the wall. One is an "oldie" Living Stereo novelty that's back in print, one was originally released in 1984 thanks to a grant from The National Endowment For the Arts (today an endangered species) reissued in the 1990s and one is a current release.

Michael Fremer  |  Jan 24, 2017  |  5 comments
We think of "field recordings" as vital ancient musical history, primitively captured. These "field recordings" dating from the 1990s were recorded using a pair of Bruel & Kjaer 4165 microphones and B&K power supply, Cello preamp, Apogee 1000 ADC and a Nagra D digital recorder given by Mark Levinson (the man) to producer Timothy Duffy .

Michael Fremer  |  Jan 03, 2017  |  10 comments
There was a period in '60s record history when you could buy "by the label" and pretty much be assured of a great listen. It was true of Elektra and later, after it got off its "high horse," Columbia, which for a while wouldn't touch rock.

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